Kim Hyun Joong was working his butt off in Japan, sometime during their 6-months stint as pretend husband and wife in MBC’s We Got Married, when he found out that Hwangbo Hye Jung’s natal day was August 16. That along with other information about her he enthusiastically researched in the internet. He sent her a text message, greeting her, extending his heartfelt wish. He admits that it was wrapped in awkwardness but it was his first and he, of course, expected a bit of leniency.
He made a glorious riposte, as everyone in Ssangchu Land know, he even swore that she fell in love a little at that time, he felt it as per his words. A serenade scented by peaches and regaled by the moon and the stars -
I don’t know you but I want you all the more for that,
Words fall through me and always fool me and I can’t react
And who would forget, the promise of a thousand paper cranes.
Several months had passed after they both bid reality TV goodbye, he became the star that she wanted him to be, a drama actor, a Hallyu celebrity. They parted ways as friends, not that he wanted nothing more, he had made his intentions known, but she was adamant, they started as a fake couple and they ought to end as such, an opinion he didn’t share but he complied nonetheless.
She celebrated her 29th birthday with a fan event, a thank you present to her avid supporters. He, on the other hand, celebrated it on his own, he was in Hong Kong at that time. They spent a good two hours on the phone that night, talking and laughing about nothing in particular.
They were physically apart but it didn’t felt that way.
Her 30th was celebrated in the midst of friends and loved ones; he was there, of course.
“I love the watch, it’s very pretty. Thank you.”
“You deserve all things beautiful. You are very much welcome.”
“What’s with the *sigh*? It’s your birthday…”
“It’s half past one, my birthday is officially over…”
“We’re being technical eh, humor me then.”
A minute of silence.
“My parents told me that they wish for a grandchild, and soon,”
“Your oppa’s getting married in a few months and by the looks of it, they’ve already started the
process of making that wish come true. “
“Tsk, you and your runabout thoughts, uhm, hormones…”
“I can help you know… but does it have to be in nine months-time or we can like practice a bit?”
A couple of wishes could have come true, her parents’ and his, if she had only conceded and accepted his help.
His career skyrocketed after We Got Married, offers abound, projects are aplenty, but 2011 was his busiest. During that year, the barest of necessities seemed like a luxury, he scarcely had the chance to eat or sleep on time. It was exhausting, don’t get him wrong, he love his music, he loves performing, he, even, appreciates all the attention and the limelight but it gets tiring and lonely.
Spending time with her hidden from the watchful eye of fans during his normal days was such a chore but it turned much worse that year. Taking time off work to hang-out, eat out or just plain see her for a while turned to be an indulgence he so craved for but he was allowed to do so rarely.
They celebrated her birthday a week late, in the wee hours of the night, at her apartment’s balcony. They watched the stars come to life and falter in the morn as they talked about each other’s life and career, places and people they want to visit and meet, stuff they long to buy, dreams they still wish to fulfill, and every other thing that crossed their minds.
“You’re off to Japan, again, in a day, right?”
“Be gone then, you need to visit your parents and drink, at least, a few bottles of soju with your best buds before you go.”
“That I must do.”
“Right, so quickly give me my present… and wish me a boyfriend, and go.”
He gave her a set of jewelry he had carefully chosen at Mont Blanc.
“I wish you’d keep me.”
She just smiled, a smile that warmed his heart up to his very toes.
The year of the London Olympics, the much-awaited year of Ssangchu-fanatics, the year that Park Choong Jae, aka Junjin, came back from the military, the year that he was reduced to just another male best friend. He understood that the latter was the first and original best friend, that he was a mere second, a filler at worst, but man, it sucked, jealousy was such a bummer.
Her 32nd birthday was spent partying with Junjin, they were born on the same year and just three days apart, and some other friends, while he was away overseas, as usual.
His birthday gift – a week-long trip to Guam , with an extra bonus – himself.
“Thank you, but don’t you think, this is a bit too much?”
“Why are you here then?”
“I don’t wanna offend you,” she teased, “besides, who in their right mind would decline such an
offer, and in my case, it wasn’t an ordinary proposition, it’s a birthday gift, my birthday gift.”
“Then what exactly are we discussing here?”
“Why are you such a grouch?”
“I am not…”
“Yes, you are!”
And it went on and on until the sun shined its hottest and they were forced to leave – the beach and their childish banter.
Their last night was spent playing games and drinking beer, laughing and poking fun at each other, just making the most out of their little rendezvous.
“If by the time I’m thirty-five and I still haven’t found the man that I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with, I want either you or Choong Jae to just… give me a child.”
He stared, slack-jawed.
Ever since she made that drunk and not-so-decent proposal almost a year ago, he had been on his tippy-toes.
“She’s turning thirty-three in two weeks, and then there’s two more.”
“I beg your pardon sir.”
“Huh?” he looked at the bartender like he just found out he was standing there. “Oh, don’t mind me, I
just have this strange habit of talking to myself,” he smirked.
Waiting is such a pain in the ass.
He was, fortunately, in Korea, the day she turned thirty-three, a small and private affair was prepared by her family, a surprise birthday gift. Food and booze abound and because everyone who were there knew each other well, no one seemed to care how much they had eaten or how much they had to drink, it was merry-making at its highest, a night without a care.
August 17, Saturday, she was woken by the stream of sunlight that escaped the window curtains, it was her room, she was certain. But her bed felt different like there was an extra weight on her side, she also felt differently, like something had changed. She took a deep breath and felt a wave of nausea, “Ah, morning afters.”
She opened her eyes and was startled to see two large, striking eyes smiling up at her, yes his eyes were smiling at her, like he finally won an acting award. She opened her mouth to say something but was distracted by his sudden movement, her nerves must have took the day off for she didn’t felt quite a thing before that or she was just plain dumb to have not realized that she, Hwangbo Hye Jung, and he, Kim Hyun Joong was lying side by side in one bed, sharing a comforter that covered only half of their bodies and they were both splendidly unclothed.
“Kim Hyun Joong,” she roared.
But he just silenced her with a kiss, a kiss that turned into kisses that trailed down her whole body and heated up her whole being.
Several hours later, when both were sated from making love and pleased in discovering each other’s form, he teasingly declared, “Why wait for thirty-five when we can begin at thirty-three.”